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Don’t Let COVID Get In The Way of Oral Health

April 6, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — tntadmin @ 6:29 pm

Good oral hygiene may start with twice yearly trips to the dentist for teeth cleanings, but it’s how people care for their teeth and gums at home that can make all the difference.

If you’re looking to make your oral health a priority, start by scheduling an appointment with your dentist to make sure you are cavity-free and catch any signs of periodontal disease as early as possible. Then, make sure you follow through with dental care at home.

Dentists at Westgate Dental Care in Arlington Heights partner with patients to make a plan on how to boost oral hygiene between appointments. In addition to teeth cleanings, patients’ teeth are also X-rayed to rule out cavities and check bone health, as eroding bone could be a sign of periodontal disease. While a trip to the dentist’s office can be scary for some, Dr. Agata Kluz, a dentist at Westgate Dental Care, said it’s important not to put off necessary semi-annual appointments. First, check with your dentist and ask about their COVID safety protocols. Then make an appointment. The sooner a dentist catches any potential problems, the sooner patients can get the treatment they need.

“I know people are afraid of the dentist sometimes, especially now during the quarantine, but offices like ours have strict safety procedures and waiting to make an appointment is likely to make things worse, both in terms of spending extra time in the dentist’s chair and possibly more expensive procedures and treatments,” said Kluz.

In addition to regular teeth cleanings, Kluz reminds patients to brush their teeth regularly as well as floss. Flossing helps remove plaque and food buildup that resides between the teeth. If these particles aren’t removed, their presence can lead to an increased risk of gingivitis, gum disease, tooth decay, and possibly eventual tooth loss. A water flosser, such as a Waterpik™ can also help people remove buildup from between their teeth.

“When bacteria builds up between the teeth and on the gums, it can lead to inflammation, which can lead to bone loss,” said Kluz. “Taking steps every day to prevent this is very important for your oral health.”

Maintaining good oral health can help prevent periodontal disease, or gum disease, which is an infection of the gums that hold your teeth in place. Kluz said periodontal disease isn’t painful, and one of the only symptoms initially is bleeding gums, which is why many people don’t even know they have it. If left untreated, the consequences for your teeth can be serious. That’s why Westgate Dental Care X-rays patients’ teeth to check for bone loss, a result of periodontal disease. While Kluz said there is no way to replace lost bone, patients can undergo periodontal therapy or a deep cleaning to cleanse the space between the teeth and gum, known as pockets.

“We recommend those with periodontal disease schedule cleanings every three months,” said Kluz.

In addition to protecting your teeth and gums, maintaining good oral hygiene can help improve your immune system as well. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging and winter being a season ripe for respiratory infections, a healthy immune system is more important than ever.

“By reducing the bacteria in your mouth, your immune system can focus on fighting other threats instead of trying to battle infections in your oral cavity,” said Kluz.

When it comes to practicing oral hygiene at home, Kluz as a few tips. To make your brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash most effective, use them at specific times of the day. For example, Kluz recommends using mouthwash during the day or after you eat a meal to freshen breath, but not right before you go to bed. Instead, she said the last thing patients should do before they turn in for the night is brush their teeth.

“If you use mouthwash after you brush your teeth, you’ll essentially washing away the fluoride coating that the toothpaste provides. You want that fluoride to rest on your teeth overnight to help prevent cavities,” Kluz said.

Good oral hygiene is important not only for the health of your teeth, but your body as well. If you’re concerned about your teeth and gums or you’re simply in need of a regular cleaning, Kluz and her colleagues at Westgate Dental Care are here to help.